Do you have discomfort in your jaw, or a persistent headache? If so, this could be related to strain in your jaw. Treatment could alleviate discomfort and also save your team from complications down the road, such as injury or missing teeth. In today’s blog, your Cerritos, CA, dentist talks about how we improve oral health with our custom nightguards.
Symptoms of Jaw Joint Strain
How do you know if you have a jaw joint concern that requires treatment? Well, you could experience a popping or clicking in the jaw, a chronic headache or migraine, or pain in your jaw, face, neck, and shoulders. Toothaches and tooth sensitivity could occur as well. When you have persistent pain in your jaw and face, you need to let us know so we can conduct a detailed examination with digital x-rays and intraoral camera images. We then create a treatment plan, often crafting a custom nightguard, to bring relief and prevent discomfort and other complications. To ease discomfort until you can see us, you can place a warm washcloth to the side of the face or take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Avoiding hard or chewy foods can help too, and try to cut back on caffeinated products too.
TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMD, occurs when the joints connecting your jaw and skull undergo excess stress, which could be the result of injury to the face or jaw, complications with the growth of oral structures or the eruption of the teeth, or misalignment and tooth loss. Without treatment, this could alter how fully you open and close your mouth. The disorder could also lead to an increased risk of bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding.
Bruxism, in which we grind and clench our teeth on a regular basis, could lead to damage to your smile. The pressure could wear down tooth structure to make teeth appear shorter, and could also crack or chip them as well. When the enamel is damaged like that, sensitive inner tissues are exposed to harmful oral bacteria, allowing cavities and even dental infections to occur, treating your overall smile stability. You will experience the same symptoms as TMJ disorder, along with tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink, or chronic toothaches. Don’t ignore your discomfort or possible changes to your smile, see us right away for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options, such as a custom nightguard.
Creating an Oral Appliance
The nightguard provides a comfortable and effective option for treating TMJ disorder and bruxism, so you can enjoy relief and prevent damage to your smile. To create one, we will take detailed digital images and measurements of your smile, and use them to create a 3D impression. In a lab setting, we will use the impression to design and fabricate the nightguard, which is custom-fitted for your smile. The device will fit comfortably and provide treatment with precision, adjusting the position of the jaw to ease tension in the joints and prevent TMJ-related symptoms. If you grind your teeth, this also puts a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth to prevent further damage to the teeth, so you lower your risk of complications like tooth decay and dental infection. The device is easy to clean and store, and is worn as you sleep at night.
Other Treatment Options
Our team could also discuss other treatments besides the nightguard, or in conjunction with one. For example, we can correct misalignment with orthodontics, such as clear aligners, to ease stress on your joints. With bonding, contouring, and crowns, we have options to help improve overall bite balance and chewing function to ease stress on the joints. Our team could replace missing teeth with a prosthetic, such as a bridge, dental implants, or even a partial set of dentures. We could also discuss muscle exercises you can do at home, and recommend changes to your daily routine to help stave off discomfort and protect your smile.
If you have any questions or concerns about how we design and treat issues like TMJ disorder and bruxism with a custom nightguard, or if you have painful symptoms that need attention, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team and discuss possible treatment options, such as our comfortable and custom oral appliances. Our nightguards can help you rest easy and avoid painful symptoms during the day!
Do You Have Jaw Pain or Headaches?
With a custom-made nightguard, our team can help you enjoy comfort and better bite balance too. If you have persistent pain in your jaw or chronic migraines, then call your Cerritos, CA dentist’s office at (562)584-4082.